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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Constructivism in Practice

This week's articles and videos examined the constructivist theories and their relationship to technology in the classroom. Within the chapter, Generating and Testing Hypotheses, Data Collection, and Web Resources were discussed and explained. When Generating and Testing Hypotheses was explored, I thought the example given of fifth graders who used Microsoft Excel to learn about compounding interest and saving money can lead to strong earnings over time was pretty powerful. The goal was not to learn about math or graphing; however, they were hidden in the use of this technology tool.

As far as data collection tools, I have never heard of a USB connectable data probe before so this was new for me. This activity for higher grades does indeed show many instructional strategies. It definitely adheres to the constructivist theory of allowing students to create their own meaning through experience.

Web Resources was the part of the chapter I like the most. I love linking to the various websites to find what parts I can utilize the best. I really liked the Plimoth Plantation's You Are the Historian website. It allowed the students to learn via a virtual fieldtrip about life back in colonial times. My son who is six has been ‘inventing’ for years therefore By Kids for Kids: How to Invent was a personal favorite to explore with him. Although he invents with legos, we still enjoyed it.

I believe that as I stop and think about my classroom theories that I do use the constructivist theory at times, but I feel I align more with the constructionist point of view.

4 comments:

  1. I really love the concept of "hidden lessons". When we tell our students that they will be learning math or graphing, there is an automatic turn-off switch that only allows them to stay active into an activity for a small period of time. Using hidden lessons like this, helps the students to complete a given task with the utmost interest and unknowingly learning more than they think!

    Also, I really enjoy the web resources mentioned... Students are constantly searching the web and using the internet at home. Therefore, utilizing this interest of students for the use of learning is one of the greatest resources available to us. Rather than just telling students to research a topic, giving them a "Virtual Field Trip" has so much more of an impact and doesn't allow students to stray away from the original objective at hand.

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  2. Web Resources are very helpful and engaging in the classroom. Most publishers of ELA, Math, Social studies, and Science curriculum offer various links to help support learning. I could only image as the days, weeks, months, and years to come technology and web resources will play a major factor in the normal class routines and assignments. My school has finally set up a website and as soon as I find time I would like to apply some web resources and various links to engage parents in their child’s learning.

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  3. I too loved the idea of the embedded lesson. Having students focus on a issues such as interest and savings gives students a life lesson instead of just one on graphing. I cannot imagine a student asking "how am I going to use this in my life" because it is so directly tied to life skills.

    Teaching under the constructionist model really prepares students for future employment. Having the students create a product is a precursor to what many students will be asked to do by a future boss. The point has been made many times that we are preparing students for jobs that don't even exist today.

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  4. I also feel thst my personal theory is aligned with the constructionist theory. I believe that students learn best they are creating because they have ownship of their learning experiences. By using the constructionist model in the classroom teachers are also giving students the opportunity to become self directed learners.

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